The match against Mallorca on Sunday will be the closing of a number of chapters for Barcelona.
Firstly, it will be the final match at the Spotify Camp Nou as the iconic stadium is set for a revamp. The club won’t play another match at the Camp Nou again until November 2024.
“Sunday will be an emotional and sad day because we are saying goodbye to what has been our home for many years,” manager Xavi Hernandez said.
“Camp Nou feels like my home. But it is for a good cause, to have an even better stadium where the fans will feel even better. It is for a common good.”
Secondly, it’ll be the end of an era as both Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba are set to play their final game at home as Barcelona players. Busquets’ departure was known several weeks ago and Alba caught some off guard by announcing his departure last week.
Busquets was the last remnant of the Pep Guardiola and he and Alba were the last players of Barcelona’s golden era. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is now the only player left of the team that won the Champions League back in 2015.
Given the finality of a number of things, some temporary, Barcelona will be looking to cap things off on a positive note. Since winning LaLiga, they’ve not won since, suffering losses against Real Sociedad, respectively. Therefore, Xavi is likely to feature a strong line-up, at least for one half, against Mallorca.
The only players he won’t be able to count on are Ronald Araújo and Pedri with the latter’s season done as he’s carrying muscle fatigue and the club don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Their plan is to let Pedri recover so he’ll be fully fit for the preseason.
He does get back Jules Koundé who missed the match against Valladolid.
“It’s not been easy to find motivation after winning the title, but we have it on Sunday because we want to say goodbye to [the] Camp Nou in the best possible way,” Xavi said.
“We want to honor so many years of history, emotion, passion and incredible matches. And it’s also a chance to say farewell to Busquets and Alba. That is all extra motivation for the game.”
Expected Barcelona Line-Up
Sergi Roberto – Koundé – Christensen – Balde
Kessie – Busquets – Frenkie de Jong – Gavi
Raphinha – Lewandowski